An anthropomorphic cat.
is the attribution of human
characteristics to non-human creatures and
beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract
concepts. Examples include animals
and forces of nature
such as winds, rain or the sun depicted as
creatures with human motivation able to reason and converse. The
term derives from the combination of the Greek
( ), "human" and ( ), "shape" or
It is strongly associated with art and storytelling where it has
ancient roots. Most cultures possess a long-standing fable
tradition with anthropomorphised animals as
characters that can stand as commonly recognised types
of human behaviour.
Anthropomorphic animals are often used as mascots
for sports teams or sporting events, often
represented by humans in costumes
In religions and mythologies
, anthropomorphism refers to the
perception of a divine being or beings in human form, or the
recognition of human qualities in these beings. Many mythologies
are concerned with anthropomorphic deities
express human characteristics such as jealousy
, or love
. The Greek gods
, such as Zeus
, were often
depicted in human form exhibiting human traits. Anthropomorphism in
this case is referred to as anthropotheism
sects throughout history have been called
such things as hands and eyes to God, including a sect in Egypt in the 4th
century, and an heretical, 10th-century sect, who literally
interpreted Book of Genesis chapter
1, verse 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of
God he created him; male and female he created them."
From the perspective of adherents of religions in which humans were
created in the form of the divine, the phenomenon
may be considered theomorphism
, or the giving of divine qualities
The Greek philosopher Xenophanes
BC) said that "the greatest god" resembles man "neither in form nor
in mind." Anthropomorphism of God is rejected by Judaism
, which both
believe that God is beyond human limits of physical comprehension.
Judaism's rejection grew after the advent of Christianity until
becoming codified in 13 principles of Jewish faith authored by
in the 12th Century.
In his book Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion
Stewart Elliott Guthrie
theorizes that all religions are anthropomorphisms that originate
due to the brain's tendency to detect the presence or vestiges of
other humans in natural phenomena.
Anthropomorphism is a well established literary device
from early times. Aesop's Fables
, a collection of short tales
written by the ancient Greek citizen Aesop
make extensive use of anthropomorphism, in which animals and
weather are used to illustrate simple moral lessons. The books
Principles) and The Jataka
employ anthropomorphised animals to illustrate
various principles of life.
In Popular Culture
Anthropomorphism plays a role in some popular films and TV shows.
The Griffin family of FOX
hit comedy Family Guy
anthropomorphic dog named Brian
the spin-off of Family Guy, The
, has a family of anthropomorphic bears.
popular British animated short films
Wallace and Gromit comes
Gromit, the beloved dog of Wallace.
Almost all characters
's hit show
are anthropomorphic in nature, with the exception of the characters
Patchy the Pirate, Mermaidman and Barnacleboy, and the Flying
Dutchman. Additionally, many of the films made by Pixar Animation Studios
around anthropomorphisms, including cars, fish, aliens, monsters,
dogs and many others.
- Clement of Alexandria,
Miscellanies V xiv 109.1–3